Members Gain Information About the Importance of Comprehensive Primary Care

UTHSC’s Dr. Jim Bailey Addresses the Chamber’s Monthly Membership Luncheon

Healthcare became the major topic of discussion at the Chamber’s Monthly Membership Luncheon, held at First Baptist Church of Collierville on October 14. Guest speaker, Dr. Jim E. Bailey, MD, who holds the Robert S. Pearce Endowed Chair in Internal Medicine, Professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine Center and is the Director for Health Systems Improvement at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, offered detailed information about current health care challenges facing the nation and specifically Shelby County and the state of Tennessee and the need for a new outlook on primary care. 

Prior to Bailey’s remarks, Collierville Chamber President and CEO Mark Heuberger welcomed a good crowd and complimented attendees and the entire Collierville business community on their willingness and desire to return to a normal business environment as soon as possible. Heuberger welcomed civic leaders and dignitaries in attendance. 

Kelly Davis, Senior Director of Development at UTHSC, introduced the day’s speaker and offered highlights of Dr. Bailey’s background, his 25 years of experience in internal medicine and experience at Regional One, as well as his authorship of some 80 journal articles and award-winning novel, “The End of Healing.”

Bailey began his remarks with startling statistics about the rapid rise of obesity within the population over the last 20 years. Such challenges, he noted, requires a new look at the relationship of medicine and patient, adding that real health care system improvement would entail an examination of “not just the delivery, but other issues that impact the bigger context.” Citing the interconnectedness of such diseases as diabetes, stroke and heart disease, Bailey drew attention to the need to examine and assist in behaviors that related to lifestyle and living. Sedentary lifestyles and addiction to fast and processed foods were contributing to a “pandemic of multiple chronic conditions.”

He transitioned his remarks into the need for more focus on a comprehensive primary care approach, allowing for the emphasis of health care costs and corresponding insurance needs to address primary care and thereby reduce the dependency on emergency room visits and hospital stays. “E.R.s and hospitals are not the answer.” Bailey highlighted the importance of an integration of health care and social services, suggesting the need for primary care to strengthen outreach. “We need to find the way to help patients find the way to a healthier lifestyle. Counseling is important.”

Bailey suggested the use of a personal health coach as a part of every clinic and “an integral part of your doctor’s team.” A focus on such patient-centered, preventive care and comprehensive primary care would require a new network to support privacy and to support healthier lifestyles. As such new systems develop, accountability would be crucial. 

Bailey encouraged business owners to examine the transition to a comprehensive primary care system that is patient-centered.  

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